With internet access both on our computers and on our smartphones, information has become amazingly easy to come by over the last ten years. Having access to unlimited knowledge about current events via the internet makes us feel well-informed, but Nathan Feiles of PsychCentral call this vast array of knowledge a “double-edged sword.”
“We’re like children in a huge toy store,” says he, “but imagine being in that toy store while trying to work, or be with family, or study, or have interpersonal relationships at the same time. This is essentially what we do in our daily lives with the internet.”
How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Because this unlimited access to information can be overwhelming, the side effects that are related to it can be emotional stress and anxiety as well as physical symptoms such as headaches and back pain.
To avoid these problems, think back to your pre-internet days (if you’re old enough to have experienced them) and try to recall that feeling of not having so many distractions. Of course, it’s impossible to completely go back to those times, but we can still exercise some control over our daily doses of information:
- Try to set a daily time limit on internet surfing (e.g. news stories, YouTube videos, shopping, etc.)
- If you work on a computer, consider going off line to avoid distractions
- Don’t check your phone every five minutes. Put it away and check it when you’re finished doing whatever it is you’re doing at the moment
- Adopt a critical attitude towards news stories, especially ones that may be trying to scare you. You can ask, “Why is this being reported the way it is?” or, “Why is this being reported at all?” Usually, the answer is, “Because it sells.”
Just like any other relationship, our relationship with the internet should not be overwhelming, so “setting boundaries” will ensure our healthy use of this amazing technology.